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Allyson Schwartz Could Set Pennsylvania Democratic Record Even With Loss

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No female Democratic candidate for governor in Pennsylvania has eclipsed the 20 percent mark in a primary to date; only seven of 165 Democratic and GOP primary candidates in state history have been women

allysonschwartz10.jpgPennsylvania U.S. Representative Allyson Schwartz jumped into the 2014 gubernatorial race early and was heralded as the frontrunner well into late 2013, but is now bracing for a distant second place finish in Tuesday's Democratic primary.

Former Keystone State Department of Revenue Secretary Thomas Wolf launched one of the most impressive Democratic candidacies over the last half year and is expected to flirt with winning an outright majority of the vote as he moves on to face embattled incumbent Governor Tom Corbett in the general election.

State Treasurer Rob McCord and former Secretary of Pennsylvania's Department of Environmental Protection Katie McGinty complete the four-candidate Democratic field.

But while political observers do not believe Schwartz is in contention for her party's nomination, she can nonetheless set a new benchmark on Tuesday.

If Schwartz receives just 20 percent of the primary vote, she will set the all-time mark in Pennsylvania for a female Democratic gubernatorial candidate.

Overall, just five women have appeared on the Democratic gubernatorial primary ballot over the 100 years since the first primary in 1914 - including Schwartz and McGinty.

None have won their party's nomination.

The high water mark thus far is 19.6 percent recorded by Treasurer Catherine Baker Knoll 20 years ago in 1994 in a seven-candidate field won by acting Governor Mark Singel.

Placing fourth in that race was another woman - 1992 Democratic U.S. Senate nominee Lynn Yeakel - who garnered 13.9 percent of the vote.

The only other woman to make it to the primary ballot in a Democratic gubernatorial race was Jennifer Alden Wesner in 1978 - the first such female candidate for governor in state history.

Wesner, the former mayor of Knox, a small town in northwestern Pennsylvania, placed fourth out of four candidates that cycle with just 2.9 percent.

Wesner later became a state constable and ran for president in 1988.

Overall, just five of the 84 Democratic gubernatorial primary candidates in Pennsylvania since 1914 have been women, or 5.9 percent.

Pennsylvania Republicans, meanwhile, have had only two female candidates for governor on the primary ballot, but can claim one female gubernatorial nominee - Barbara Hafer in 1990.

Hafer, then the state's sitting State Auditor, won 54.4 percent to secure her party's nomination for governor in a race against fellow female GOPer Peg Luksik.

Hafer subsequently lost the general election to Democratic incumbent Bob Casey.

Luksik and Hafer are the only two women to appear on a Pennsylvania primary gubernatorial election ballot over the last 100 years out of more than 80 such candidates.

Despite low approval ratings Governor Corbett will run unopposed for his party's nomination Tuesday.

Pennsylvania Republicans have coalesced around their nominees much more than Democrats in recent decades.

Keystone State Republican gubernatorial nominees have not faced a primary opponent in six of the last nine cycles: Dick Thornburgh (1982), Bill Scranton III (1986), Tom Ridge (1998), Mike Fisher (2002), Lynn Swann (2006), and Corbett (2014).

Democratic nominees, meanwhile, have run unopposed in the primary in just two of 26 gubernatorial contests in state history: John Hemphill in 1930 and Ed Rendell in 2006.

Only 15 Republicans have appeared on the primary ballot since 1982 - just one more than the record 14 GOPers who ran in the 1934 cycle - compared to 30 Democrats during this span.

Pennsylvania is one of two-dozen states in which a woman has never served as governor.

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Remains of the Data

No Free Passes: States With 2 Major Party Candidates in Every US House Race

Indiana has now placed candidates from both major parties on the ballot in a nation-best 189 consecutive U.S. House races, with New Hampshire, Minnesota, Idaho, and Montana also north of 100 in a row.

Political Crumbs

Gubernatorial Highs and Lows

Two sitting governors currently hold the record for the highest gubernatorial vote ever received in their respective states by a non-incumbent: Republican Matt Mead of Wyoming (65.7 percent in 2010) and outgoing GOPer Dave Heineman of Nebraska (73.4 percent in 2006). Republican Gary Herbert of Utah had not previously won a gubernatorial contest when he notched a state record 64.1 percent for his first victory in 2010, but was an incumbent at the time after ascending to the position in 2009 after the early departure of Jon Huntsman. Meanwhile, two sitting governors hold the record in their states for the lowest mark ever recorded by a winning gubernatorial candidate (incumbent or otherwise): independent-turned-Democrat Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island (36.1 percent in 2010) and Democrat Terry McAuliffe of Virginia (47.8 percent in 2013).


An Idaho Six Pack

Two-term Idaho Republican Governor Butch Otter only polled at 39 percent in a recent PPP survey of the state's 2014 race - just four points ahead of Democratic businessman A.J. Balukoff. Otter's low numbers reflect his own struggles as a candidate (witness his weak primary win against State Senator Russ Fulcher) combined with the opportunity for disgruntled Idahoans to cast their votes for one of four third party and independent candidates, who collectively received the support of 12 percent of likely voters: Libertarian John Bujak, the Constitution Party's Steve Pankey, and independents Jill Humble and Pro-Life (aka Marvin Richardson). The six candidate options in a gubernatorial race sets an all-time record in the Gem State across the 46 elections conducted since statehood. The previous high water mark of five candidates was reached in seven previous cycles: 1902, 1904, 1908, 1912, 1914, 1966, and 2010.


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